A Disney insider alleges that the entertainment company is now offering life skill classes to all of its young female stars in hopes of avoiding a future “fallen princess” PR nightmare.
In the wake of several scandals centered around a bevy of actresses once attached to the Disney Channel such as Miley Cyrus (Hannah Montana), Demi Lovato (Sonny With A Chance) and Britney Spears (The All-New Mickey Mouse Club), up-and-coming teen queens from the company are now given the opportunity to attend classes to help them prepare for adulthood in the entertainment industry, according to the New York Post.
“Disney has tried to provide more guidance to its young stars with classes focused on healthy living and social-media responsibility,” the Post adds.
The reveal of the seminar-like situation, which purportedly began around 2009, is seemingly a response to the most recent scandals of ex-Disney star Bella Thorne (Shake It Up), 19, exhibiting a mature upgrade in wardrobe style and 23-year-old Debby Ryan’s (Jessie) DUI arrest in April of that same year.
“[Additionally], Demi Lovato has been candid about her battle with drugs and alcohol, as well as bulimia and self-harm,” the Post continues, while “Miley Cyrus [has had a] barrage of hyper-sexualized, pot-smoking antics, [and] Spears [engaged in a] shaved-head, umbrella-thrashing meltdown [around] a decade ago.”
The current head of talent and casting relations for the Disney Channel, Judy Taylor, shared with the Daily Mail the importance of the life classes for any actress who works for Disney.
“We realize these are young people and they are in a transition in their own personal life,” Ms. Taylor remarked.
“Rather than dictate what they can and cannot do, we try to provide resources with these kind of classes and partner with their parents to give them support and guidance.”
A half-day class session, entitled “Talent 101,” sets out to give the young Disney women a different way of approaching the stresses that may come their way as they try to expand their experiences of life beyond the walls of the star-making conglomerate.
“There are also monthly optional life skills classes,” the Post adds, “which focus on emotional and physical well-being and are taught by a pediatrician and a Ph.D. expert on child development.”
In their defense, Disney has appeared to taken a lighter stance on how they react to certain tabloid-ready moments, such as when Rowan Blanchard of Girl Meets World labeled herself as “queer” on Twitter in January of last year, as noted by Just Jared.
@phippstea yes open to liking any gender in future is why I identify as queer
— Rowan Blanchard (@RowanBlanchard) January 16, 2016
Additionally, young actor Garrett Clayton, best known for starring in the 2013 Disney Channel original film, Teen Beach Movie, and its 2015 sequel, went on to follow that role with a spin as real-life gay porn actor Brent Corrigan in the 2016 crime drama, King Cobra, which featured nudity and several scenes with performers of the same gender. The network has never publicly spoken on the movie or Clayton’s involvement in the film.
— Stephen M. Brown (@stephenatl) December 12, 2016
Incidentally, a lack of mention regarding boys’ participation in the Disney life classes yields concerns that are related to a handful of other publicized incidents, including the September 2016 suicide of Famous Jett Jackson’s Lee Thompson Young, as noted by People, and the rumored drugs troubles of Orlando Brown of That’s So Raven fame, as BET reports.
— T̷O̷U̷C̷H̷̷ Ⓜ️???????????? (@Touch4Healing) December 9, 2016
Perhaps unintentionally, the Post article does make note of the slight hypocrisy by way of a 2013 New York Magazine interview snippet from singer Joe Jonas, who worked with Disney as part of the Jonas Brothers, and claimed to have witnessed an interaction from Disney team workers conversing about Vanessa Hudgens’ (High School Musical) 2006 nude photo scandal.
“We heard that she had to be in the Disney offices for a whole day because they were trying to figure out how to keep her on lock-down,” he revealed.
“We’d hear execs talking about it, and they would tell us that they were so proud of us for not making the same mistakes, which made us feel like we couldn’t ever mess up.”
Reps for the company have never commented on Jonas’ interview or fully confirmed the existence of the Disney life classes.
[Featured Image by Disney Channel]